Charity begins in the dressing room at DirecTV W Connection. As Connection beat a 10-man Defence Force team 2-0 to lift the Digicel Charity Shield at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium this evening, announcer Wayne Cunningham informed the audience that the $10,000 charitable cash prize at stake would go to captain Jan-Michael Williams to offset medical expenses for his fiancée Candice Worrell.
Worrell was brutally assaulted while being relieved of her mobile phone in January and was comatose for nearly three months. The former beauty queen is alert, speaking and eating normal foods now although she hasn’t regained authority over her legs.
Hopefully, Connection’s gesture this evening would aid the family’s recovery from a traumatic experience. It was a rare example today that the Pro League does not operate in a vacuum but is a part of Trinidad and Tobago’s society.
The love was not visibly returned to the footballers who kicked off the 2012/13 season in front of roughly 200 spectators.
Young patrons made full use of a bouncy castle, complete with clowns, that went up at halftime while more seasoned football fans could sit in judgment of present and, possibly, future national players like Defence Force’s Richard Roy, Devorn Jorsling, Rodell Elcock and Ross Russell Junior or Connection’s Shahdon Winchester, Clyde Leon, Joevin Jones and Jomal Wiliams.
The season officially starts next weekend with the first Digicel Pro League fixtures but, for all the talk of a negligent Sport Ministry, insensitive Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and stingy private sector, the threat to local football by the indifference of sport fans is just as worrisome.
Connection snatches inaugural Digicel Charity Shield.
DIRECTV W Connection added yet another trophy to its already illustrious cabinet by defeating 10-men Defence Force 2-0 on Saturday night to take home the inaugural Digicel Charity Shield.
Connection scored on either side of the half playing at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium with goals from Shahdon Winchester and, eventual Player of the Match, Joevin Jones.
The Charity Shield brings together the Digicel Pro League Champion and the Digicel Pro Bowl winner, which in this instance are, W Connection and Defence Force respectively.
Fourteen minutes into the match Defence Force punished themselves to a disadvantage when defensive midfielder Curtis Gonzales picked up a direct red card from referee Rodphin Harris for maliciously stamping Connection's Jomal Williams after the two collided.
Five minutes later Williams tested goalkeeper Kevin Graham from some 24 yards out but the Defence Force goalie was excellent pushing the strike wide for a corner.
However it was from the resulting corner that Connection made it 1-0.
Winchester snatched the opener in the 20th minute when he pounced on a delay by defender Rodell Elcock inside the six yard, smashing a powerful shot past Graham.
Moments later, in the 27th minute, Jones rattled the crossbar with a powerful effort when he was found by Clyde Leon's measured pass behind the defense, and the rebound was hammered overbar by Winchester hitting on the half volley from outside the area.
Meantime Defence Force's best first half effort came in the 42nd minute from a set piece by striker Devorn Jorsling just outside the are which forced a stretched save out of goalkeeper Jan Michael Williams, pushing the effort behind for a corner.
Connection then doubled its advantage 2-0 two minutes into the second period from a brilliant strike by Jones from distance which flew past the gloves off Graham.
It was from a squared pass by midfielder Jomal Williams that Jones opened room on his favoured left foot and spanked a left footed strike.
The Soldiers coach, Ross Russell, responded by introducing attacker Richard Roy who added life to the team's attack while Connection coach, Stuart Charles Fevrier opted for a defensive second period approach canceling out his opponent.
Roy was able to test Connection goalie once three minutes after replacing Josimar Belgrace but the deflected effort was easily gathered by goalkeeper Williams.
Two minutes later in the 58th minute, Kevon Carter flashed an effort just wide of the Connection upright.
But it was Connection that had the better openings late in the match.
Six minutes from time goalscorer Jones rounded goalkeeper Graham when a ricocheted ball fell to him inside the area, however his tamely placed shot was blocked off the line by retreating defender Corey Rivers.
In the 87th minute Winchester spilled wide from close up and moments later substitute Andrei Pacheco headed effort was thwarted by the Defence Force goalie.
W Connection 2 - 0 Defence Force
Shahdon Winchester 20', Joevin Jones 47'
W Connection--Jan Michael Williams (capt.), Elijah Joseph, Clyde Leon, Akeem Benjamin, Kern Cupid, Jomal Williams (Gerard Williams 75th), Joevin Jones, Rennie Britto (Andre Quashie 73rd), Shahdon Winchester, Hashim Arcia (Andrei Pacheco 46th), Kemuel Rivers (Yellow Card)
Coach--Stuart Charles Fevrier
Defence Force--Kevin Graham, Corey Rivers (capt.), Aklie Edwards, Ross Russell Jr. (Michael Edwards 73rd), Curtis Gonzales (Red Card), Devin Jordan, Rodell Elcock, Jerwyn Balthazar (Sean Narcis 80th), Devorn Jorsling, Josimar Belgrave (Richard Roy 53rd), Kevon Carter